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Home comforts packaged for care in final days

Registered nurse Melanie Brock, front left, palliative care clinical nurse specialist Carol Hinton, and Hospice Wairarapa general manager Suzie Adamson, with the hospice kit and Wairarapa DHB staff. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

A focus on making the death of a loved one as comfortable as possible for everyone involved is behind a hospice kit, now available at Wairarapa Hospital in Masterton.

Hospice Wairarapa has put together the kit, containing items designed to make a hospital room familiar and calming for people who cannot die at home, and their families.

Items in the kit range from a specially-made quilt and a CD player, to magazines and colouring books, toys, and a bubble machine, as well as necessities such as hand cream, toothbrushes, and tea and coffee-making equipment.

Appropriate parts of the kit can be brought to a patient’s room when they are required.

Hospice general manager Suzie Adamson said death was a “shared experience” in a family.

“Hospital is a foreign environment, and that’s necessary because of the medical care that is going on, but it is foreign to the home environment,” she said.

“If we can replicate the comforts of home to some extent, we can hopefully make both the patient, and family and whanau members more comfortable.”

The hospice is not in a position to fund an in-patient care unit, but does have longer-term plans to create a dedicated space at the hospital.

The kits are seen as an interim step in that direction.

“It is about creating an environment that is calmer and gentler, and accommodates the needs of the family as well as the patient at the time of dying.”

Wairarapa District Health Board welcomes the initiative and appreciates the commitment the hospice has to providing services for palliative patients in the region.

Anna Cardno, Wairarapa DHB communications manager, said the kit would help to improve a person’s last days.

“Losing a loved one is never going to be easy and having the opportunity to create a gentler, warmer and less sterile environment for the patient and their friends and whanau is a wonderful touch.”

Executive leader of nursing Michele Halford said she was grateful for the relationship between the organisations.

“The partnership between Wairarapa Hospice and the DHB is very valuable and we appreciate the good work the hospice does to support our community. We may not have a local in-bed hospice unit, but initiatives like this hospice kit really do help.

“Support for the dying is really important,” she said. “We want everyone to live well, and die well.”

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